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Monday, August 31, 2015

Green Tea Chocolate Mini Bundt Cake with Chocolate cream filling

Use of Matcha or green tea powder in baking and in other desserts always intrigued me and I always wanted to try something with green tea powder.  I finally did. I thought I will try this version of  my familiar recipe first and then venture into making other desserts like ice cream, smoothies and drinks.
The pretty green color  of this powdered green tea is so soothing to eyes and has a subtle but not overpowering flavor.
First let me tell you something about this powder, I found this information on Wikipedia.

Matcha  is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. It's special in two aspects of farming and processing: The green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed in processing.
The traditional Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. In modern times, matcha has also come to be used to flavor and dye foods such as  mochi and  soba  noodles, green tea ice creams and a variety of  wagashi   (Japanese confectionery). The former is often referred to as ceremonial-grade matcha, meaning that the matcha powder is good enough for tea ceremony. The latter is referred to as culinary-grade matcha. However, there is no standard industry definition or requirements for either. Different matcha manufacturers might provide their own definitions.
Other uses of green tea powder: 
It is used in castella, manju and monaka  as a topping for kakigori; mixed with milk and sugar as a drink; and mixed with salt and used to flavor tempura in a mixture known as matcha-jio. It is also used as flavoring in many Western-style chocolates, candy and desserts, such as cakes and pastries (including swiss rolls and cheese cakes, cookies, pudding, mousse and frozen yogart and icecream.  The Japanese snack Pocky has a matcha-flavoured version. Matcha may also be mixed into other forms of tea. For example, it is added to genmaicha to form what is called matcha-iri genmaicha (literally, roasted brown rice and green tea with added matcha).
The use of matcha in modern drinks has also spread to North American caf├ęs, such as Starbucks which introduced "Green Tea Lattes" and other matcha-flavoured drinks after matcha became successful in their Japanese store locations. As in Japan, it has become integrated into lattes, iced drinks, milkshakes, and smoothies. A number of cafes have introduced lattes and iced drinks using matcha powder. It has also been incorporated into alcoholic beverages such as liqueurs and even matcha green tea beers.

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1 box of yellow or white cake mix with pudding mix in it (I used yellow cake mix)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cups (1.5 pint) or  (.75 quarts) of  melted ice cream I used cookie dough, you can use plain vanilla  ice cream)
  • 3 tablespoon of Matcha tea powder
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips.
    Ingredients for filling and icing:

  • 6 oz of chocolate chip cookies
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 can of condensed milk
  • 1 8 oz pack of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of  powdered sugar if want to use instead of icing or any sugar glaze or fudge or  chocolate topping.
    Method to make the batter:
    * Beat eggs, oil together.
    * Add sour cream, mayo and melted ice cream,  * and mix it, add 2 table spoon of green tea powder.
    * Add cake mix and beat it in mixture adding remaining green tea powder.
    * Fold it the mini chocolate chips and set aside.



    Method to make the filling and icing:
    * Melt 6 oz of chocolate chip morsels with milk in a microwave safe glass bowl, stirring every min until completely melted.
    * Mix well until smooth.
    * Add cream cheese, vanilla and condensed milk
    * Mix well wooden spatula until smooth

      * Preheat oven at 350 F
      * Prepare mini Bundt cake pans by spraying with Pam.
      * I used silicone Bundt cake which I think are the best.
      * Pour the cake batter with table spoon around in to each mini Bundt pan.
      * Put the filling in center of each bundt pan around the tube.
      * I must admit, mine came out little messy.
      * Save the remaining filling for icing.
      * Bake  the Bundt cakes at 350 for 45 min to 50 min until tooth pic comes out clean.
      * Let the cakes cool completely.

      * Invert the cake pans and carefully take out the Bundt cakes.
      * You can either ice them with remaining filling or sprinkle powder sugar of them.
      * You may also make a glaze (which I did not have time to make) and pour over it.
      * You can get creative with plating and serving.
      * May fill the well of bundt cake with  warm fudge and with chocolate filling may give a look of green volcano with melted chocolate lava.
      * May serve it with ice cream.
      * May add chopped Pistachio nuts in the batter along with chocolate chip for extra crunch.

      * This recipe yields 12 min Bundt cakes.

      Be creative and enjoy !!

        Green Tea powder information source:
        Rest of the photographs by Surekha.
        Recipe by Surekha.
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      Wednesday, August 26, 2015

      Tropical Fruit Juice Cocktail for a Big Party with Kala Khatta

      As promised in my earlier post, I am posting a bulk version of fruit cocktail drink for a big party.
      To all my readers who are not from India and are not familiar with condiments and drinks in India:  I will be introducing all of  you to lot of new ingredients which I will give brief details about.Inspiration for this recipe was from two very delicious drinks that I used to love in Mumbai whenever we visited there.  First one was Kala Khatta which is basically a drink made from Indian Blueberries (Kala Jamun), sugar and black salt. This syrup is poured over the snow cones in India and sold by street vendors.  Since Jamun is not available all year round in India they use a ready made Kala Khatta mix that comes in packages with flavored concentrate and a separate package of salt mix.
      You can get this package from local Indian grocers. I saw that Amazon sells it too. You have to add your own sugar to it.

      The second drink that inspired to come up with this recipe is the fruit cocktail that you get in Mumbai at a local restaurant in Chaupati. It is smoothie blend of fresh fruit juices like pineapple, apples, watermelon, orange juice, and black grape juice with lot of lime juice and again black salt. ( I just posted this recipe before posting this one)

      I had to make a alcohol free drink for our friend party. I had made this before for a party at my house and for another work party several years ago, and everyone had loved it, so I decided to make this again.  Since all the fresh fruits are not available all the time I came up with this recipe which was blend of two drinks that I love and never miss to have when I go to India: Kalakhatta and The fruit Cocktail. Since I had to make it in bulk using I opted to used frozen juice concentrates and canned fruit and keeping watermelon as base for fresh fruit.  I made this drink for about 90 -100 people, if you want to make small quantity you may use fresh fruits (as per previous recipe)  The main ingredients that give a different flavor to both of the drink are watermelon, pineapple, grapes, lime juice and  black salt, and let me tell you that everyone does not like the taste of Kala namak due to it pungent taste that comes from high sulfur content in this pink rock salt.
      The black salt or Kala namak also Known as Sonchar in Gujarati. Here is some information I found on this on line
      Kala Namak or Himalayan Black Salt is also known as Sulemani namak, black salt, or kala noon, is a type of rock salt, salty and pungent-smelling condiment  used in South Asia. The condiment is composed largely of  Sodium Chloride with several other components lending the salt its color and smell. The smell is mainly due to its sulphur content. Due to the presence of Greigite (Fe3S4, Iron sulphide)  in the mineral, it forms brownish pink to dark violet translucent crystals when whole, and, when ground into a powder, it is light purple to pink in color.

      Traditionally, the salt was transformed from its raw natural forms into commercially sold kala namak through a reductive chemical process that transforms some of the naturally occurring sodium sulphate of the raw salt into pungent hydrogen sulfide and sodium sulfide. This involves firing the raw salts in a furnace for 24 hours while sealed in a ceramic jar with charcoal along with small quantities of Harad seeds, aamla bahera, babul bark and Sajji.  The fired salt is then cooled, stored, and aged prior to sale. Kala namak is prepared in this manner in Northern India . The salt crystals appear black in color, and are usually ground to a fine powder which is pink in color.
      Although the kala namak can be produced from natural salts with the required compounds, it is common to now manufacture it synthetically. This is done through combining ordinary sodium chloride admixed with smaller quantities of Sodium sulphate, sodium bisulphate and ferric sulphate   which is then chemically reduced with charcoal in a furnace. Reportedly, it is also possible to create similar products through reductive heat treatment of sodium chloride, 5-10 percent of sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate, and some sugar.  That is why before adding to any recipe I always dissolve it in little water and strain it through fine strainer, in case it has small pieces of rock contamination.
      So that is enough info about black salt. Now let's come back to the recipe. In 2006 when I first made it three times I wrote down the recipes and lost it, this was before this blog.  Recently I wanted to make it again for another party for one of my best friend. Again since I had to make it in bulk, I chose to make it out of canned and frozen fruit with blend of Kala khatta  vs fresh fruits. This time I decided to post the recipe so it does not get lost in my pile of recipes.

      Here are the ingredients I used this time:
      • 1 small water melon cut in small pieces
      • 2 packets of Kala Khatta
      • 1 large can of pineapple juice (48  oz)
      • 1 can of crushed pineapple (20 oz)
      • 1 can of  Lychees (20 ox)
      • Juice from 10 fresh limes
      • 1 small jar of apple sauce unsweetened
      • 1 can of frozen pink or regular lemonade or limeade
      • 1 can of frozen orange juice
      • 1 can of frozen concord grape juice
      • 1 can of frozen apple-raspberry juice
      • 1 can of frozen cranberry juice
      • 1 can of cranberry sauce with cranberries in it (this is readily available during Fall season and  during Thanksgiving)
      • 2 cans of sliced ripe mangoes (you may use fresh mango if in season) You may used canned peaches if mangoes not available.
      • Juice from 2-3 fresh lemons
      • 3 tablespoon of black salt
      • 1 and half tables spoon of ground cumin powder (or to taste, can omit this too if not available)
      • 1/4 cup of sugar (or to taste)
      • 1/2 cup of instant ice tea powder with lemon

      * Thaw all the canned frozen juices.
      * Make the Kala Katta with sugar and water, with 2 cups of water, don't use amount of water as per instructions, those instuctions are if you are making just kala khatta drink.
      * Cut watermelon in cubes.
      * Using a hand blender in a large deep vessel blend all the fruit with its juices to fine pulp.
      * Add all the thawed frozen juices to it, blend until smooth.
      * Add watermelon and Kala khatta and again with hand blender blend all of the fruit until smooth pulpy liquid.
      * Dissolve the black salt in some water and strain it with fine strainer or cloth.
      * Add salt and lime and lemon juice to the drink.
      * Add ice tea powder.
      * Add cumin powder
      * You may strain the juice if don't want pulpy consistency,  I like it little thick and pulpy therefore I don't like my strained.
      * Transfer them in large empty jars, and refrigerate.
      * Serve chilled over crushed ice.
      * This drink freezes well. You may make it ahead of time and  freeze it in small containers or freeze  the left over to serve for another party.
      * This sweet and savory drink is not for everyone's  palate, but I love it and so did all my guests and that is why I wanted to add this to My Favorite Recipes Collection :)

      Hints and Suggestions:
      * It is versatile recipe and you can add or delete any ingredient you like except the black salt  and lime and lemon juices.
      * You can modify the amount of sugar you like, and consistency of it thick vs dilute to your taste and liking.
      * You can use as many fresh fruits as you like, I like it a little pulpier version better than the dilute one, so in past I have used fresh berries in it too.
      *Remember this is a bulk recipe for 90-100 people.
      * There are no rules, just go with your taste buds and trust your palate and enjoy :)

      Kala Namak Info source:

      Photograph of Kala namak source :


      Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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